Elaine K. Mah Best Appointed Executive Director of Girls Inc. Carpinteria

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria is pleased to welcome Elaine K. Mah Best as the organization’s new executive director. She will begin serving in her new role on February 11.

Best brings 14 years of executive leadership experience and nearly two decades of development experience, including donor cultivation, major and capital gift campaigns, corporate and planned giving, strategic planning and special events. Most recently, she served as vice president of institutional advancement for the Santa Barbara Zoo, where she led the effort to raise more than $27 million in donations in support of the Zoo’s operations and priority projects since joining in 2009.

“Elaine is an experienced leader with a strong commitment to enabling success for local youth and a lifelong passion of empowering girls,” said Girls Inc. of Carpinteria Board President Theresa Huerta. “We are fortunate to welcome her as our new executive director following an extensive search. Our Board of Directors is confident that under Elaine’s leadership, the work of our staff, community partners and supporters will strengthen our impact and ability to inspire girls to be strong, smart and bold.”

Best succeeds Victoria Juarez, who dedicated nearly eight years of service to Girls Inc. and recently joined the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara as CEO. Since then, Lisa Murphy Rivas, a nonprofit management, public outreach and government relations professional, has served as interim executive director throughout the transition, helping the organization continue its valuable work serving girls in the community. 

Prior to the Santa Barbara Zoo, Best held the position of vice president and director of development for PathPoint, where she was responsible for the planning and implementation of the fundraising, public relations and marketing effort for the $25-million, five-county nonprofit organization. Her extensive background also includes serving in development and public relations roles for Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) International, Girl Scouts of Tres Condados and San Domenico School.

Best is currently a member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties Chapter, where she previously served as president of the Board of Directors and on various committees. She is also a sustainer member of the Junior League of Santa Barbara. In 2017, Best was recognized as Fundraiser of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria currently serves more than 700 girls each year, helping them navigate gender, economic and social barriers and grow into healthy, educated and independent adults.

To learn more, please visit www.girlsinc-carp.org.


Girls Inc. of Carpinteria is a member of Girls Incorporated®, a nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. With local roots dating to 1864 and national status since 1945, Girls Inc. has responded to the changing needs of girls through research-based programs and public education efforts that empower girls to understand, value, and assert their rights. We provide programs for girls 6 to 18 years old that focus on science, math, and technology; health and sexuality; economic and financial literacy; sports skills; leadership and advocacy; and media literacy. To learn more, become a volunteer or offer support, please visit www.girlsinc-carp.org/.

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